Quito (AsiaNews) - The journey that Pope Francis is making "was an opportunity to meet a huge number of Ecuadorians", but at the same time "also included in the context of the universal Church, which is working on the theme of the family in these days, with great intensity “, says Father Federico Lombardi, Holy See Press Office director. He was speaking to journalists following the Pope's visit to Ecuador at the end of the day yesterday, marked by the visit to the cathedral and the "courtesy" call to President Rafael Correa.
Two moments in which Francis spoke of the difficult situation that the country is experiencing, recommending fraternity and asking for a real recognition of family values.
"I come to Quito - said in an impromptu salute to the thousands of faithful gathered in front of the cathedral - as a pilgrim, to share with you the joy of evangelization". Reaching out to "great nation" and the "noble people of Ecuador" Francis appealed to them "that there be no differences, no one is excluded or rejected, that we are all brothers and sisters". "To build this cathedral - he added - the transport work, carving and masonry were carried out according to our customs, by our indigenous peoples; a work of everyone in the community, an anonymous work, without billboards or applause. " "God willing - he invoked - that, like the stones of this cathedral, we carry the needs of others on our shoulders, helping to build or restore the lives of so many brothers and sisters who do not have the strength to rebuild it or have seen it collapse ".
The plight of Ecuador, marked by street protests, the expectations of the Church that its role in serving the people be recognized and the promotion of family values and life - not just words - instead dominated the meeting between Francis and President Correa. The Pope spoke of the "progress" made "in development", but asked that the results “ensure a better future for all, paying special attention to the most fragile of our brothers and vulnerable minorities that are Latin America’s outstanding debt". The Pope and Head of State twice appeared on the Lodge of the presidential palace "Carondele", first immediately after the Pope’s arrival and then when he was about to leave.
Today, Pope Francis third day in Ecuador, will be a busy one. At 10 am, local time, he will celebrate Mass in the Bicentennial Park in Quito, dedicated to the evangelization. Just before it will meet about 40 bishops
and, after lunch at the nunciature, he will visit the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador where he will meet the world of schools and universities, and deliver a speech.
In the church dedicated to St. Francis, which is the oldest religious building in Latin America and is located in the historic center of Quito, he will receive the keys to the city. In the church, the Pope will then meet civil society and also give a speech. His last appointment of the day will be a visit to the "Church of the Company", run by the Jesuits.